The latest in our Creates series features an interpretation of heritage and how our self-perceived ‘weaknesses’ may just be the best things about us.
For That’s What She’s theme on Heritage, I drew an image of Inuyasha contrasting his human form and demon form. If anyone is familiar with the character Inuyasha, he struggles with his identity as half-human and half-demon, viewing his human identity as his weakness and desperately trying to hide and ultimately rid himself of this weakness.
Like Inuyasha there are many parts of my identity that I consider weak and have wanted to rid myself of. I would find myself wondering: “Wouldn’t life be so much better if __ about me changed?”, or, “I have to work hard to fix this about myself.”
In 2 Corinthians 12, it is comforting to know that the Apostle Paul also shared similar thoughts about his weaknesses. Before Paul became an apostle, he was an up and coming celebrity of his day: a respected Jewish scholar and religious leader acclaimed for his knowledge of the Old Testament; he was of the purest Jewish bloodline, trained by one of the most highly esteemed Jewish teachers, and he was seen as righteous according to the law.
Fast forward to when Paul is now an apostle and he is seen in a completely different light, stripped of his high titles and subjected to constant suffering (read 2 Corinthians 11:23-28 if you want a full list of all the gory details of Paul’s treatment). Despite Paul’s pleas with Jesus to take away the “thorn in his side”, Jesus responds with, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.”
And rather than railing against God which would be our natural reaction, Paul’s response to this unfulfilled prayer is incredible:
“Therefore, I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.” (2 Corinthians 12:9-10)
In this stage of life I am currently in the process of job searching, so the thought of “boasting of one’s weaknesses” is such a foreign idea. Imagine if my resume listed all my weaknesses – that would be a fail-proof way to stay unemployed!
Yet I find Paul’s words to ring so true. If I were perfect in every way, I would never be able to humble myself before God and instead would think of myself as a god. It is only through my weaknesses that I am aware of my lowly place before the perfect Lord, seeking his love and restoration for my brokenness. It is only through this lens that I am able to clearly see the glory and beauty of the cross.
This must also explain why God chooses the most unqualified people to do the most amazing things. Imagine the resumes for some of the most influential characters in the Bible:
- Lies to his dying, blind father to steal his brother’s blessing
- Sleeps with the wrong wife
- Runs away from his problems multiple times
And yet, he is used in God’s great plan of restoration.
- Sleeps with another man’s wife
- Assassinates her husband
Yet is deemed a ‘man after God’s own heart’.
- Leads a massive genocide against Christians before becoming an apostle
Yet he miraculously encounters Jesus on the road to Damascus and becomes the greatest saint in Christendom.
We often see in the old and new testament that God chooses people with huge character flaws so that they may completely depend on him. If it weren’t for their weaknesses, God’s glory, love, and patience would not have been manifest. And so, just like how I can’t imagine Inuyasha without his ‘weaker’ human side, I can’t imagine how my relationship with God would have grown without my weaknesses.
What part of your identity do you see as your weakness? How might God be using that part of your identity to bring you closer to Him? Would you still seek God if your world were perfect?
Christina Shin grew up as a Korean-American in the Midwest. She always had a knack for adventure and loves to turn her imagination into reality through art. Christina has experienced the vast wonders of God through her many adventures and her family and friends. She believes God has given everyone a special talent and hopes that everyone will go out and find theirs to ultimately glorify God.
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